Ky.: Ex-Deputy Rejects Plea Deal over Restitution

May 1, 2007

A former western Kentucky sheriff’s deputy will go to trial in June after rejecting a plea deal on multiple charges related to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Benny Harding, 53, faces charges of tampering with physical evidence, insurance fraud, criminal mischief and theft, and misdemeanor charges of filing a false police report and official misconduct.

Harding, a one-time McCracken County Sheriff’s Deputy, turned down the plea offer because of the amount of restitution he would have been required to pay, said his attorney, Andrew Coiner.

The case stems from allegations that Harding falsely claimed he was shot in the shoulder on last Oct. 11 by an unknown assailant while checking on a parked car. Investigators said Harding subsequently admitted his wound was self-inflicted.

Coiner said the plea offer from prosecutors was for a 7-1/2-year prison sentence and $30,000 in restitution for unearned pay and workers compensation benefits.

McCracken County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Kaltenbach said he doesn’t plan further negotiations.

“We’ve made our offer,” Kaltenbach said.

Information from: The Paducah Sun,

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